How to Polish Up Your Presentation Skills
Clara glanced nervously at the roomful of her classmates, who stared back at her expectantly, some begrudgingly, waiting for her to commence her presentation about the evolution of modern cinema. Her mouth felt dry as she began to sense the general weariness of her audience’s mood.
Clara has expressed her adoration of the modern film arts with her parents numerous times. However, a sense of reluctance overtook her as she knew of her project's requirement to publicly express her passion to a group of opinionated individuals. The people before her held various judgements, backgrounds, and perspectives, which further pressured Clara, as she attempted to share her personal interests and ideas with them.
Clara, like other students, shared a common barrier to gaining presentation and public-speaking skills. The barrier varies to each individual. It could be anxiousness, lack of confidence or even simply insufficient preparedness.
Acquiring presentation skills not only prepares you for school coursework, but for a career prospectus, public speaking, and even social events. Presenting an idea allows students to gain the necessary transferable skills that will benefit their future growth, whether in the workplace or in a social setting.
Choosing the right words and phrases is essential to engage your audience. One of the best tactics to display your idea to an audience is through compelling storytelling. Sharing incidents will not only gain your audience’s attention, but also keep you at ease throughout the presentation. Using personal anecdotes provides you with a better explanation method and will better the way in which you convey your message.
Involving your classmates through asking them questions also delivers you a chance to grip your audience and prevent them from wavering their attention. It is also best to ask your questions with confidence, in order to better the chances of getting an answer, rather than to be met with silence.
Furthermore, it is crucial to practice. Although some students would prefer to improvise during their presentations, practicing gives you the extra confidence and easy delivery that you would need during a presentation. You can also choose to prepare a script beforehand in order to gain a more concise structure for your presentation, rather than just winging it. Moreover, Practicing can calm your nerves, as you become more familiarized with the presentation and for what’s to come.
As a student, it is best to start working on your presentation skills now more than ever. This transferable skill can open up better opportunities for future college admission and job interviews. Always keep in mind that your words can also make a difference.
Anon, 2020. 10 ways to improve your presentation skills. CABA. Available at: https://www.caba.org.uk/help-and-guides/information/10-ways-improve-your-presentation-skills.
Kim, L., 2020. 20 ways to improve your presentation skills. WordStream. Available at: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/11/19/how-to-improve-presentation-skills [Accessed March 2, 2021].